Monday, October 31, 2016

Quick-fire Tips for NaNoWriMo Plotting

I'm a plotter at my core, but this year? Oh Maker...this year I have merely a whisper of the bones of a story. So let's go! NaNo waits for no master!

1. Create the back cover copy/book blurb 

I did not do this last year, and despite all of my planning and research and character charts, my main plot was left floundering at times. Make the back cover copy before you write. Be sure to include: the hook, the principle character(s), their goals, what's stopping them from said goals, and what will happen if they don't achieve their goals (the stakes). You can always make a note to include genre along with whatever the standard WC is for it in case you need a reminder along the way.

2. Write down "Milestones" 

Have a few milestones or fixed points that need to happen to make the story arc or character arc happen. Include milestones like:

  • Inciting Incident: what happens to start the plot moving
  • The "Point of No Return": from James Scott Bell's Plot and Structure (highly recommend!), have a milestone where the character can no longer return to their former/normal lives. They must see the plot arc through if they want any resolution
  • Darkest Point: not to be confused with the climax, DP refers to the point where the reader (and even characters) believe all hope is lost. Unless something changes from this point, the characters will not achieve their goals. This heightens conflict/tension as well as gets the reader rooting for the characters

3. Parallel lines

Put character arcs of main characters on one "line" and the main plot arc on another "line" parallel. Perhaps using sticky notes or cards will help. Having the parallel lines enable you as a NaNo plotter to easily weave elements of both character and plot throughout the story so you won't be lacking in either department once November comes to a close.

4. Give yourself room to make mistakes

Give yourself room to make mistakes. NaNo is a time of fun, community, and dedication. Don't beat yourself up if you didn't make a daily WC. There's always tomorrow, and any words you put down are more words than you had before. Give yourself room to have fun, make friends, and don't strive for perfection. You can always edit later.

What tips do you have for NaNoWriMo? Tell me in the comments or find me on Twitter!

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